Sunday, March 29, 2009

Scaling back our Phoenix operations

AZGS has cancelled our agreement with the BLM to run the Explore Arizona outdoor information center in downtown Phoenix. Our last day will be April 3, with packing and moving going on the following week.

In the meantime, all publications are on sale at 25% off (except for USGS, BLM, and USGF topo maps). This does include AZGS technical publications and a wide range of popular hiking, natural history, tourism guides.

The decision is a result of the budget situation. Explore Arizona was funded with internally-generated monies, not with state tax dollars. But in addition to the substantial cuts in state appropriations to AZGS and other agencies, the Legislature also took our internal funds used to pay the salaries of support and admin staff, and propose to take even larger amounts in the next fiscal year.

Even though sales have been steadily increasing since we opened, the projections are that the center would not be fully self-supporting in the next year. As a result, we realized that we would have to scale back our financial commitments in the center and other functions in order to subsidize state-mandated mission-critical functions with the money we raise on our own because the state cannot afford to do so.

The sales inventory and fixtures are moving to our store in Tucson, which has been slated for a major overhaul as resources became available. It's our plan to make our Tucson store a one-stop shop for all state and federal publications and materials related to the natural history, resources, and recreation in Arizona.

BLM has not announced their plans for the center after AZGS leaves.

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